Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall 2014 Garlic Planting

September 30, 2014:

I re-sheet mulched the middle 4 x 4 bed, using half-composted straw full of worm casings, food scraps, salt hay, leaves, and 4" of soil dug from the original bed and from the 4 x 16 bed. Watered each layer.

Purchased organic, locally grown garlic from Heron Pond Farm Stand, supplied from Wild Miller Gardens in Lee, NH. 

Planted bulbs 6" apart, in rows 6" apart. 

Watered well, and mulched with 5-6" of salt hay.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Indoor Planting for Spring 2014

I decided to start some seeds indoors this year – for the first time ever. Having heard rave reviews on soil blocks, I looked into making them. Unfortunately, the ‘recipe’ for the soil would have made way more than I needed for the few items I intended to plant.

The little device in the picture below – Pot Maker – grabbed my attention, and I thought why not? Newspaper cups that compost into the garden bed once planted?

Win / win.

Not being able to decide on a soil, I grabbed two organic ones I had read decent reviews about – Espoma and Happy Frog. The Espoma soil is finer and water takes a bit longer to soak in. Happy Frog has bigger ‘bits’ in it, borderline mulch-like, but the water soaks right in, down throughout the entire ‘pot’.

But I’m ahead of myself…

I wrapped the newspaper tight around the wooden cylinder, folded the ends under & pressed it into the base. It was tough to slide the little 'pot' off. A second attempt - much looser on the wrap job - and we had success. 

Daughter #1 helped roll the pots, but by the time it came to fill them, the bottoms began to unfold. A tiny piece of tape which I’ll remove upon planting outdoors worked wonders.

Daughter #2 joined us in filling the pots, half with Espoma & the other with Happy Frog.

On March 17th, we planted Red Wethersfield Onions from Seed Savers Exchange and Petunias from a cheap Walmart company. 

I placed them beneath a small 2’ grow map I rigged up on my wine rack. Rather than spend a fortune on grow lights, I nabbed two bulbs designed for fish tanks & plants.

The Happy Frog sprouted a few onions within a week, the Epsoma a day or so later. Every single onion seed sprouted. Petunias did almost as well.

On April 5th, we planted Nasturtium and Zinnias, again half in Espoma & Happy Frog. While the Nasturtium exploded within the week, the Zinnias continued to snooze, but eventually three of the 8 pots planted sprouted.

Will I try again next year? Probably. I’ll just need a bigger grow light…

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Plans for 2014

Last week's post, 2013 Gardening Recap, told of my container failure. Since we're done in the back yard with the large construction vehicles, I can begin my working one step at a time in my final plans for the Rochenski Homestead - which DOESN'T include containers!

My yard is back fill. Period. No top soil, no humus. A perfect blank slate upon which to build my dream. With three kids and limited income, however, I'm taking it one phase per year. For 2014 I've got one of my four (planned on) raised beds ready for sowing.

Last fall, my father and I build a 16' x 4' structure at the northern end of our property. We then sheet mulched with cardboard, leaves, home-made compost, and straw. I'll save the process and explanation of sheet mulching for another post, but you can click on the link if you don't feel like waiting.

Anyhoo. Here's the final product.

Yes, those are some of my containers from last year which are holding a few of my perennials until I can break our frozen soil up.

I'm going to plant tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, beets, onions, cukes, snap peas, green beans, lettuce, radish, turnip, spinach, and kale along with basil, parsley, dill, and nasturtium. A smaller rock-lined bed to its right will hold zinnias, bee balm, yarrow, sunflowers, wood betony, and tulips in the hopes of drawing in some pollinators.

Since I don't have room in this bed for some (necessary!) zucchini, I'm going to grow them in front of the bed in a pile of compost. 

Well I'll plant them anyway. 

While my list may seem a lot of veggies to pack in this tiny plot, companion and dense planting along with succession will make it possible.

It's my hope to can pickled red beets, diced tomatoes, and perhaps some bread & butter pickles. At the least, I'm looking forward to tasting my lettuce this year rather than just supply the groundhog and rabbits with tasty shoots.

The key to any of plans succeeding, though, is spring which seems to have lost her way here in New England. The other necessity? Knowing when to plant what, but I'll save that for next week's post.